Friday. 4th of October.
This is it, the last day #ibmcsc brazil . I can’t grasp the idea that tonight it’s all over. Saturday at 10, the taxi to the airport will be waiting to take me to Uberlandia airport for my flight home… Amazing.

But today is the presentation at the Mayors office. It’s a sad day and Mother Nature has decided it would rain. So it did. We all get dressed up in our suits and head off to the Municipality, just a few blocks away. In this big building, all participants, all NGO’s, all students that have been involved and others have gathered to listen to the words of the Mayor. Unfortunately he is having to leave early, but the deputy is staying. Every team gets 15 minutes to address the public with a short presentation. At 12:00 everybody is done. Some teams go for lunch, others back to the hotel. The whole afternoon will be used to debrief all the teams. First the students and then we take our turn. What went well, what could be added or improved to the program. I think this is really good and we want to make sure eventual new teams can get the utmost out of the programme. After this session, it is really time to close the books.


It is an emotional moment. We have been these intensive buddies for each other for 4 consecutive weeks. It’s not easy to let go. It is really nice to go back home, but sooo hard to leave. Luckily there is a light programme for tonight. We get back to the hotel and at eight we head to a very nice cachasseria for our final dinner. It is really very nice and emotional again. And, as I am at the airport right now, it is not easy to write down my feelings, I am mixed up. Happy to go, unhappy to leave. Brazil has made it so nice for us here. Especially our hosts have gone out of their ways to make taste Brazil, I will never, never forget you.


At the Mayors office


Debriefing, sad faces…


We advise IBM, JPMorgan and CDS people on what could be improved.


Giving feedback



Monday, 30th of September. #ibmcsc brazil
So, yesterday we had our potluck at Larissa’s parents place. An international event where everyone was cooking something coming from his or her country. It made me think of what I should cook, as natinal dishes are more winter-like cabage things. So I decided to make something from a country that Dutch people lve to go. Italian anti pasti, made some snacks for everyone to eat during dinner making. As we were eating quite late, the
snacks were received quite well. The dinner went really well, there was an abundance of food, lovely cashassa and nice music. Larissa’s parents made us feel at home really
quickly, it was if we already knew them for ages. Also Gustavo’s parents were there. They live next door. Larissa and Gustavo are engaged and will be married soon I guess. Well, they have it all going for them. It was really a very nice experience and I enjoyed every minute of it.


International dish; German, Indian, Chines, Vietnamese, Polish, French all on one plate!


Anna keeping Robert under close scrutiny…


Cheese plate made by Mike… Lovely.


Party time! It was not difficult to see where Larissa’s got her moves!

Saturday in Uberlandia

Saturday 29th of September. This weekend, I am staying in Uberlandia. I have been out for the last weekends and we were advised to keep this weekend “at hand” in order to work at the assignments, as this is the last weekend that we’ll be here…. 😦  So I did. And evenso, there’s a lot of nice things we are doing this weekend.

So, this Saturday morning we agreed in visiting the “old” city center. We have been here, but only at night for our dancing lessons or for dinner. Our hotel is located in a fairly new area, a 10 minutes ride out of this center, which has not much of the old Portuguese flavour, but is ideally located for logistics (and is a great hotel by itself). We gathered at a very nice square called Praca Tubal Viela. A square where we will meet Larissa who will give us some shopping directions.

uberlandia praca0

Praça Tubal Viela, 1940

Praça Tubal Viela, 2013

Praça Tubal Viela, 2013


Praça Tubal Viela, 2013

There is a nice ambience to the square. The fountains, the elderly people, young couples (lots of cuddling) and us! As there are hardly any tourists in town, we immediately get spotted but we are welcomed ever so kindly.

Larissa, prepared as always, gives us some quick directions and the promise she’s having her phone on standby for anyone needing additional directions (which will prove to be necessary). We all quickly wonder off, everyone on the quest for stuff to bring home. There’s a lot of shops, but as shopping is not really my “thing”, especially when there is a little bit of pressure to find light-weight stuff to bring back home. There’s a lot of people doing their everyday / weekend shopping. Clothing, shoes, refrigirators, drugstores…

I included some old pictures, things are quite similar, even some of the cars (Volkswagen beetles, Volkswagen minivans and Chevrolets pick-up).

uberlandia street

Downtown Uberlandia, back in the days

Uberlandia, 2013

Downtown Uberlandia, 2013

So, the men flock together and we set our hopes to the Mercado Municipal. A really nice area with small artisan shops, hairdressers and some traditional bars. We kind of find some stuff, but for me, it is really hard, as the 23 kilo’s I brought from Amsterdam did not substantially get lower. I will leave some stuff (stroopwafels, some reading material, the football and the wine gums and licorice that were kindly given to me before departure) but that is hardly weighing up to bottles of cachassa or any other presents. But, I have another week left, and, under pressure, things will materialise, I keep telling myself 🙂

The further we head into the afternoon, the more (lots of young) people come together to socialize onto the Mercado Municipal, have a drink and talk.

Mercado Municipal, 2013

Mercado Municipal, 2013

Marcado Municipal, 2013

Marcado Municipal, 2013

foto (20)

Marcado Municipal, 2013

Especially when the live music starts, the Mercado is really turning into a really nice open, friendly meeting point for young and old.

After having lunch we have to move on. As the weather is quickly deteriorating, and as we promised ourselves a quick dip into the pool, we quickly head back to the hotel, pick up our gear and go to Cajuba.

Cajuba pool, 2013

Cajuba pool, 2013

Though it is weekend, there’s not a lot of people around as you can see. Maybe it’s the weather, it must be cold to Brazilian standard (18-20C). Friday evening, this place was filled with people, live music and a BBQ, there wasn’t a table left. We dive in the pool  as soon as we are in, thunderstorms start to unleash. At five it is already getting darker and we see the lightning in the background of the city outskirts. Luckily we stay dry and the temperature is not dropping much yet. So, on the terrace, we discuss. Assignments, progress, general feelings and what we miss most after three weeks of being away. It is a tough question, on one hand, I am really enjoying my stay here in Uberlandia. The new experiences, the bonding with the group, our group dynamics, our assignments, learning about different cultures, our team meetings with surprises from countries every week, our contacts with the NGO’s, our dancing lessons, the children at the Institute on one side and on the other hand I really miss my family, the social life at home and yes, even do I miss the colleagues, the interactions at work (really!). This is especially the case when there is some time for “ourselves”. During weekdays, the program is really packed from 800 till 2400 (and beyond), there is little time to evaluate what the assignment is doing to you personally. The spare time that we have is being consumed by the so many – but ever so nice – group activities.

After some time, we leave. I have to get to a supermercado to prepare for our next team assignment on Sunday evening. Larissa’s father has invited us all for a “Pot-Luck”. I did not know this word but the concept is very friendly. We all gather and everyone brings something to prepare. I have been thinking about what to prepare. A Dutch dish? Nothing comes to mind, especially with no Albert Heyn at hand. So I think I will do some appetizers, Italian style. I head off to the supermarket with Christy and we shop. We’re good and head back to the hotel. When I arrive there’s a group waiting to go for dinner. As I really want to join, I rush upstairs, put my stuff in the fridge and head back down.

The group has decided to go to a Japanese restaurant downtown which has the reputation to be very good. It will prove to be a very nice experience, lots of laughter (LOL), sharing stories and getting to know each other better and better. We go home (hotel), another day filled with experiences and emotions. Lot of them will be the last of their kind here in Uberlandia as we head for the last week. Like this Sunday morning in my hotel room. #ibmcsc brazil


Thursday 19th of September, today we will go to a different location of the Instituto. The have 3 now, a smaller one, in the City of Uberlandia, a second one, in the outskirts of Uberlandia, in the region called Murumbi. Again, an area that is really bad. During daytime, it’s kind of OK, but one should not wonder around after the sun has set.

Image     Image     Image

But today we will visit the Murumbi location as there will be interviews of a local television channel during Capoeira lessons.

Capoeira; Portuguese pronunciation: [kapuˈejɾɐ]) is a Brazilian martial art that combines elements of dance, acrobatics and music, and is sometimes referred to as a game. It was developed in Brazil mainly by African descendants with native Brazilian influences, probably beginning in the 16th century. It is known by quick and complex moves, using mainly power, speed, and leverage for a wide variety of kicks, spins, and highly mobile techniques; at heart is the ginga, the back-and-forth, foot-to-foot movement that serves as the starting point for such leverage. Capoeira used in genuine self-defense situations incorporates many sweeps and low moves, whereas when played as a game there is more emphasis on high moves, demonstrations of acrobatics, full cartwheels (called au) for evasion, and flips or other exotic techniques by mestres (masters), and performing an entertaining match for the audience.

The word capoeira probably comes from the Tupi language, referring to the areas of low vegetation in the Brazilian interior where the game was played. It was invented by slaves and disguised as a dance in order to prevent its capoeiristas from punishment or execution for learning how to fight and defend themselves, which was forbidden to those who were legally defined as property. It is nearly always practiced to traditional Brazilian berimbau music.


Capoeira classes, boys and girls alike.

So we set off and go there. Once we’re there, we’re greeted by the kids and they already know us. Lessons start and from the beginning, It’s very, very contagious and soon we are all dancing with the kids. I do not know whether this local TV station has caught us also on television, but I hope they’ve cut me from their footage. Seems like the Brazilians are all made of rubber and we are made of steel. Unbelievable! #ibmcsc brazil


Capoeira classes, from young kids to older ones. Everybody participates

Website and Facebook

Wednesday 18th of September, Today is an important day for our deliverables. First, we got all the passwords and the userid’s for the Institute’s Facebook page. This will enable us to get more updated content on their page and demonstrate that this can increase their visibility in the Uberlandia region. So, please, please, please “like” the Instituto Politriz Facebook page. (the one with 240+ likes). Thank you. Already later this evening we are seeing some 10% increase of traffic compared to what we would normally see in a year, so that is good news. Please join all the newcomers in liking our page. We will also create a set of instructions that will enable the Institute teachers and/or administrative people to update the page on a regular base. It can also serve as a guide for the many (foreign) exchange students that are passing by here and that could also play an active role here.

We are also very busy setting up the domain for the Institute’s webpage. This seems more complicated as we are having trouble to do so. We paid, put the settings right, but it won’t fly. We are in contact with the help desk but things are moving slowly. In the end we are told that it will take one day to register and that we’ll be able to structure the site to our needs. I am sure that Terumine will play a big role here as his fingers create webpages as we speak.


Together with the initial layout that we made, this should really go well. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for tomorrow. Another point is, is that there seems to be material everywhere. On telephones, on PC’s, on USB sticks, DVD’s. If time permits, it would be great to create some sort of repository of all data where these things could be stored for eventual future use.


The day ends, we had hoped to be online today, but it will just not be. We are told that it will be tomorrow. Amanhã. A big thing here, this “amanhã”. Well, let’s keep our fingers crossed.

We head home (hotel) and we witness a beautifull sun going down. Hard to capture with the iPhone, but nevertheless…


Then, there is relaxation. We have a bite at Thalia next door (it seems this is the most popular place to have a bite or a quick snack before we start the evening programme) and we go for dancing classes at 21:00. Already we feel that the temperature is building up again. Summer is coming. The classroom is hot and we sweat ourselves through the inevitable dance moves of the Samba and Forro [fô-hô]. But we’re getting the hang of it (I think :-)). After the dancing lessons we stop at a bar to hydrate our bodies. We are already making plans for our trip to Caldas Novas next weekend. Sylvie has been so kind to make reservations and arrange for transportation. Thank you for that Sylvie! Nearly the whole team will come. So it is bound to be a great experience yet again. #ibmcsc brazil